One of the most common reasons people visit Hocking Hills is that it is one of Ohio’s most beautiful parts. Most people visiting this location spend a lot of their time outdoors, exploring the different landscapes and enjoying the views. A great way to see the sights and enjoy the natural beauty of the area is to hike, and there are plenty of hiking trails from which you can choose. Here is a traveler’s guide to hiking in Hocking Hills to help you get the most out of your stay in this location.
According to Inn at Cedar Falls, one of the best short hiking trails in Hocking Hills is the Cantwell Cliffs trail. As it is not close to the other popular trails in the area, many people do not enjoy this walk. However, the locals would argue that it is one of the most picturesque spots, so it is worth traveling to the hike to enjoy the views. It is a scenic, one-mile hike that takes you through thick vegetation until you reach the dramatic Cantwell Cliffs, where you can enjoy the views. While you are in this area, you should explore the narrow passages in the cliffs called ‘Fat Woman’s Squeeze,’ which were formed by water erosion.
Probably the most popular hike in Hocking Hills is the Cedar Falls trail, and it is also one of the shortest trails at just half a mile. The trail is lined with trees and steep rock walls. In addition to seeing Cedar Falls, which is the biggest waterfall in Hocking Hills, you will also see pretty grottoes along the way. It takes most people less than 30 minutes to complete this walk.
Conkle’s Hollow is a rocky gorge that is one of the deepest gorges in Ohio. There is a lower and upper section to the trail, and you can choose to complete one or both sections. The lower trail is paved and takes you along a stream. It is lined with rock formations, cliffs, and large hemlocks. The upper trail is longer at 2.5-miles long, and it leads you to a breathtaking waterfall.
The Rock House Trail is another short walk that people of all ages can enjoy. It is less than half a mile long, and it takes you deep into woods that look like the jungles of South America when the foliage is thick during the summer months. At the end of this short trail is Rock House, which is a primitive house with gothic windows built into a cave. The cave is in an elevated position, and there are excellent views of the green valley that sits below.
The Ash Cave trail has a lower and upper section, and the lower section is accessible to those with a disability. It runs for approximately a quarter of a mile around the bottom of the Ash Cave Gorge. Those who are a little more ambitious can also complete Upper Ash Cliff Trail, which is also known as the Ash Cave Rim. It is best-suited to experienced hikers as there are rugged sections that involve some scrambling.
Old Man’s Cave
Another short walk in pretty surroundings is the Old Man’s Cave trail. It is an out-and-back trail that is under a mile long, so it is a good option if you just want to get outside for a while without exerting too much energy. The trail is located near South Bloomingville, and it is an easy walk suitable for most skill levels. A waterfall is the highlight of this trail, although there are pleasant surroundings from start to finish.
The Buckeye Trail winds through 1444 miles of Ohio, running from Lake Erie near Cleveland to the hills of Cincinnati overlooking the Ohio River. According to All Trails, the section running through Hocking Hills State Park is just over five miles long. It is a popular trail that people use for hiking, jogging, and fishing. Many people enjoy walking their dogs on a leash along this trail. Due to some areas getting a little boggy during rain, the best time to enjoy this trail is between April and October.
An excellent hike for those who enjoy wildlife is Queer Creek, which is an out-and-back trail under three miles long. As its name suggests, the trail takes you along Queer Creek and across Buckeye Trail, and some sections of the trail can get a little slippery during wet weather. Therefore, it is best to hike this trail during the summer months. Dogs on a leash are permitted on this trail, so it is a popular spot for dog walking.
Upper Falls to Lower Falls
Although the Upper Falls to Lower Falls trail is only a mile long, it is classed a moderate as the terrain is uneven with some elevation gain and rough or slippery areas. It is one of the most popular trails in the area due to the fantastic scenery. The main highlight of the trail is the waterfall, although there are plenty more features to enjoy along the way. Dogs are permitted on this trail if they are on a leash.
George Overlook Loop
Hiking the five-mile George Overlook Loop trail combines some of the smaller trails and allows you to appreciate some of the most scenic views in the area. Located close to South Bloomingville, this moderate trail features a lake and takes you from the George Overlook Trail to Cedar Falls and then back via the Buckeye Trail and past Old Man’s Cave. The best times to enjoy this trail are between April and October when there is less rainfall. If you have taken your dog along with you on your travels, then they can accompany you on this hike if they are on a leash.